Slick leather pants make a flashy comeback as Reloaded hits the screens in a summer full of lumpy comic-book adaptations. And while the protagonist doesn't quite swing off buildings or do a jig while collecting berries, man, does he kick butt.
For the uninitiated, Reloaded flashes to earth in the future, where the planet's under the clutches of artificial intelligence called The Matrix. Human brains are fed the impression that they inhabit 21st century earth, all the while serving as energy sources for their masters. But there is more than what meets the eye... a rebel band under Morpheus (Lawrence Fishbourne) has escaped and identified the one man, the messiah, who will serve for the rage against the machine. And that being none other than poker face, ex-Point Breaker, Neo (Keanu Reeves).
Anyway, the basic premise of Reloaded is that the machines discover the location of Zion and are now on their way to zap this zit off the face of the place. But before that can happen, Neo, Morpheus and the motley crew must put their collective cells together to find a way to save that from happening. And of course, all this is possible with a little help from an oracle and a character, Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim).
At this point, it must be pointed out that the flick goes high like on a sniff of hash, and you're left with some super-slick action sequences. But then again, that's the primary reason you're in the halls. Reloaded does have this summer's best action. The freeway car chase on the highway makes you feel like a dog hanging out of a car window... it's exhilarating, when not serving as an ad for Cadillacs.
Then, the re-entry of self-duplicating Captain Smith (here's a fella who's never in need of a photo-copying machine) is also a high point. The action sequence between Neo and Capt. Smith induces vertigo, and makes you clutch your bag of popcorn desperately. But that aside, do action sequences really save a film? In this case, not really. They may pin you down to the leather, but what about the pseudo-intellectual crap that the characters are spouting?
We know that asking Keanu Reeves to mouth anything more than "get off the bus'' would be a huge risk needing cover by a triple policy, but what in the name of a garbage can is "I know what I know because it is my purpose" (Keymaker-speak)? Duh! Futuristic fury coupled with neo-medieval oriental tripe? This sort of powwow makes as much sense as a Pekinese made to march on a parade.
I think the Wachowski Brothers should have diligently left the flapping lines firmly at home and do what they do best... hang the camera and take a 360 degree turn. But unfortunately for Reloaded, adding more action and bullets doesn't take the focus off the ultra-slender storyline.
But what makes the worth while is Keanu zooming up buildings, Keanu shielding bullets with an open palm, Keanu making out with Trinity and umm... did I say Keanu one too many times? Anyway, the Wachowski Brothers may have just scratched the surface of ingenuity when it comes to the script, but you have to hand it to them for having popped up the most fantabalistic-action flick for a while to come at least. And while the cash registers belts out a never-ending anthem, all you can do this summer is watch the flick gleefully conquer the matrix of the box-office.